West Country derby kicks off action packed Premiership Rugby Cup Round Four
Gloucester Rugby and Bath Rugby will both be looking to settle old scores as the pool stage of the Premiership Rugby Cup comes to a close this weekend.
There will be no love lost as the two sides kick off the final round before the return of Gallagher Premiership Rugby with a huge Derby Day clash at Kingsholm.
The West Country rivals are synonymous for putting on fierce, hard-hitting affairs when they meet and this can be expected again on Friday evening despite their respective struggles in the competition to date.
Bath have won one contest and lost two so far, retaining only the faintest hope of making the final four, while Gloucester will be aiming to finish their involvement with their first victory of the tournament, having lost all three of their Pool 2 fixtures.
The hosts were edged out in an 11-try thriller last week against Harlequins with slight errors and turnovers proving the difference, but positives to be taken from their play on the ball and the performances of the impressive Joe Simpson and Billy Twelvetrees.
Indeed, forwards coach Trevor Woodman this week asserted that Gloucester are not far away from stringing together the perfect performance.
😡 #PremRugbyCup derby day dawns 😡
This lot will never be the best of pals…..
Expect a few bruised bodies and egos after this one 🤕
🌶 Bragging rights on offer, this one normally means a little bit more 🌶 pic.twitter.com/URhIE8YiIy
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) October 10, 2019
Bath, meanwhile, were largely off the pace in conceding 15 points in the first half hour as they suffered defeat to Leicester Tigers – Levi Davis scoring Bath’s only try.
They will be expecting a response but know the task facing them is an almighty one at their neighbouring rivals.
Mark Atkinson, Freddie Clarke and Jaco Kriel are all set for their first starts of the season as Gloucester make 13 changes for the contest.
Only Tom Hudson and Tom Seabrook retain their places from the team that started at Harlequins last weekend with academy lock Harry Butler set to make his full debut for the club.
Recent signing Corné Fourie is also named in the matchday squad for the first time while Simon Linsell will skipper the side.
For Bath, Ross Batty returns to the starting line-up to captain the XV, with 13 changes also made to the side that suffered defeat to Leicester Tigers at the Recreation Ground last time out.
Gloucester Rugby: Tom Hudson, Jake Morris, Tom Seabrook, Mark Atkinson, Louis Rees-Zammit, Lloyd Evans, Charlie Chapman, Alex Seville, Henry Walker, Ciaran Knight, Harry Butler, Simon Linsell, Jaco Kriel, Josh Gray, Freddie Clarke
Replacements: Corné Fourie, Val Rapava Ruskin, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Gerbrandt Grobler, Aaron Hinkley, Jack Clement, Stephen Varney, Charlie Sharples
Bath Rugby:George Worboys, Will Butt, Jackson Willison, Jamie Roberts, Gabriel Hamer-Webb, Alex Davies, Ollie Fox, Lucas Noguera, Ross Batty, Will Stuart, Levi Douglas, Rhys Davies, Jack Davies, Tom Ellis, Nahum Merigan
Replacements:Jack Walker, Will Vaughan, Sam Nixon, Simone Elrick, Elliott Stooke, Josh McNally, Freddie Burns, Max Ojomoh